You're only in shape for whatever it is you're in shape for. These days I'm trying to stay generally fit - I don't have a big race on the horizon, and I'm not hiking the canyon anytime soon - I just want to stay healthy and fit.
So what's my current workout plan, and why?
- 10 miles per week, or more.
- at least 5 runs per week (and preferably 6).
- Mon - 2 miles fast
- Tues - 2 miles slow
- Wed - 1 mile fast
- Thurs - 3 miles slow
- Fri - 18 minutes of 1-minute intervals (one minute running fast; one minute recovering at a slow jog; repeat)
- Sat or Sun - 2 or 3 miles slow, or a nice trail run.
- I typically run early in the morning, first thing, before eating or drinking anything. I just get out of bed and go.
- Stretching - I'm enjoying some stretching while cooling down after running on most mornings. This is a big change for someone as non-flexible as me - maybe one day I'll be almost flexible...
- 3 times per week, do one or the other (alternate exercises each time)
- 3-4 sets at a time, in rapid succession, of as many as I can do.
- Add in some extra core work if I have anything left in the tank.
- For pull-ups, this means knee lifts or leg raises.
- For push-ups, I can do planks or dozens of other variations.
- I generally do these in the evening after work.
Why this Plan?
- The running / push-ups / pull-ups combination gives me a good mix of cardio and strength training.
- I did this workout a lot over the summer and really enjoyed it.
- I like how I feel when I'm in "running shape", and I like how I look when I'm in "pull-up shape".
Why these distances / reps?
- A goal should be attainable, but not easy.
- I've used RunKeeper to track all my runs since 1/1/2011, and the data shows I've run 10 miles in a week 20 times since then (out of 247 weeks.) I haven't run 10 miles in a week yet in 2015, and I only did it 5 weeks in all of 2014 - with the last one being in May 2014 (approx 67 weeks ago.)
- This goal is doable, since I've done it many times in the past.
- But it won't be easy, since I haven't been able to do it very often. Getting 10 miles in on a consistent basis will be challenging, and hopefully rewarding.
- As for the reps on push-ups and pull-ups - I want to feel sore enough to know I worked out, but not too sore to be comfortable the next day. I also want to get stronger over time, but I don't need to look like a body builder to feel successful. Enough is enough - no need to overdo it.
- I wrote about the optimal amount of exercise a few months ago - this should be more than enough to stay fit and healthy, without being excessive.
- I'm thinking this might be a worthwhile plan for the next year, but I'm going to commit myself to it for the next 10 weeks, and re-assess from there.
Eating is King
As always, diet has a larger impact on weight than exercise, unless you're working out for several hours a day. So I'll want to continue to eat a reasonable amount of real foods (or as close to real as practical) to maintain my target weight. Running several days in a row does not give one free license to eat unlimited amounts of fast food!
So there you have it.
Simple, but not easy. Attainable, but not without consistent dedication. And rewarding - I should be in "fit and healthy" shape when my 10 weeks are up (the week after Thanksgiving, coincidentally, and speaking of eating reasonable amounts...)
- Chris Butterworth
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